In January 2017, HDI presented the Top 25 Thought Leaders in Technical Support and Service Management. To help you get to know them better and learn what it means to be a community leader, we’ve interviewed each of our thought leaders. Today, we hear from Aprill Allen.
Tell us about your day job and also how you are involved in the community.
I've got a few things going on at the moment. Primarily, I'm an independent knowledge management strategist. I listen to the problems business owners and managers are struggling with and identify which knowledge management practices will have the most impact, given the available resources. That includes advising startups on how to grow their support function in a sustainable way. In between KM consulting gigs, I spend time talking to founders of new knowledge enablement platforms—advising them and keeping in touch with emerging knowledge tech. In my spare time, I volunteer on the board of the Australian itSMF. I'm the current National Events Director, so we're deep in conference planning mode for our 20th annual conference in August.
What motivates you to be active in the community?
My first experience of the Service Management community was as a delegate and white paper award winner at our 2011 conference. Our Australian itSMF community is very welcoming, and it was their encouragement and enthusiasm that prompted me to become more involved as a new speaker and committee member. Meeting a group of people that spoke a language I was so familiar with was like coming home to family I didn't know I had, and that feeling has extended around the world, whenever I've had an opportunity to attend international events. We catch up regularly and we reach out to each other whenever there are opportunities to work together.
What suggestions do you have for tech support professionals interested in getting more involved in the community?
There are engaging people who speak your IT language in whatever form you are most comfortable in. If it's in person, look for industry seminars and interest groups; if it's Facebook, join us on the Back2ITSM group; if it's Twitter, start with the list of thought leaders published by HDI. Start by listening or jump straight into an active conversation. There's nothing like meeting those people face-to-face when you've come to know them online.
What changes do you anticipate for the world of knowledge management and KCS over the next few years?
KCS seems to have a limited market in Australia, due to the nature of our smaller market size, compared to the US, for example. However, embedding KCS practices early on, when an organization is still small is a wise move, because those positive habits will be a strong foundation from which to grow or to simply train new support staff more easily, when needed. I do think the greatest uptake of knowledge management practices and new knowledge tech will come from the small to medium organizations that have grown enough to lose touch with who everyone in their organization is and where silos are starting to impact knowledge flows. It would help if the knowledge management profession had a strong "brand recognition," like project managers and even service management enjoy. But we lack the industry bodies to drive the commercial interests such as certification schemes and global professional development training programs. The Consortium for Service Innovation's KCS is a good start, but that's just one piece of a much broader KM puzzle.
Embedding KCS practices early on, when an organization is still small, is a wise move.
Amy Eisenberg is the editor for HDI where she works with industry experts and practitioners to create content for technical support professionals. She has worked in B2B media and scholarly publishing for more than 20 years, developing content for print and digital magazines, print and email newsletters, websites, conferences, and technical seminars. Follow Amy on Twitter @eisenbergamy, and connect with her on LinkedIn.